Category Archives: Marketing

What is a Hashtag & how to use them on Twitter?

How to use Hashtags on Twitter

What is a Hashtag?

If you search “What is a Hashtag?” on Google this is what you get

hashtag
ˈhaʃtaɡ/
noun
  1. a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Twitter to identify messages on a specific topic.
    “spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them”

In simple terms this is what a Hashtag is but where people get confused is that you can use Hashtags in different ways.

Using the # (hash) sign to tag a word started out on Twitter in 2007 and was actually suggested by a Twitter user Chris Messina as a way to group tweets, it took a while to take off but now hashtags are all over Twitter and other Social Media Sites too.

Hashtags are basically a word or words that have the # sign at the start, they are often used for networking hours and chats so that people involved in the conversations can see what other people also taking part in the hour are tweeting about.  Here in Lincolnshire 2 popular hashtags are #LincsHour on a Monday evening between 8-9pm and #LincsConnect which can be used anytime.  Notice there is no space between the words, this is significant as if you use a space the only word that is tagged is the first word, so both hashtags would be #Lincs Hour rather than #LincsHour and #Lincs Connect rather than #LincsConnect.  If you put a hashtag into the search box on Twitter then a selection of Tweets with that hashtag in will be shown to you.

Searching a hashtag

How to use Hashtags?

As mentioned Hashtags are used for grouping tweets on networking hours, they are also used by TV programmes to encourage viewers to tweet while watching such as #SCD for Strictly Come Dancing or #TheVoice or whatever TV programmes you are interested in.

Hashtags can be used for events such as conferences, where a hashtag will be used to promote the event before it takes place and then also during the event by speakers, exhibitors and attendees.

Current affairs also have hashtags associated with them as this is something that people are interested in following and tweeting about.

You can create your own Hashtag just make sure it isn’t being used by anyone else, however if you are just starting out using Hashtags it makes more sense to use existing popular tags in your business or location.

Don’t over use Hashtags in a tweet, 2 hashtags per tweet is enough.

If you would like to read more about How to use Hashtags check out Mashable’s post

Popular Hashtags you might see

#FF or #FollowFriday I think this was the first hashtag I came across, the idea is you give a shoutout to people you think are worth following.

#LincsConnect This is for Lincolnshire people, businesses and charities and the idea is that people using it retweet other people’s tweets to help promote each other.

#SBS stands for Small Business Sunday and is a competition run by Theo Paphitis between 5pm-7.30pm on a Sunday, where businesses can tweet @TheoPaphitis using #SBS and describe their business, in the hope of being pick as one of the lucky 6 who get retweeted that week by Theo.  However searching for this hashtag will also give results for SBSnews.

What Hashtags do you use regularly and would recommend to other people?

Want to learn more about how to use Twitter to promote your business, then take a look at my 30 days to Twitter Success course

Can any business use Pinterest?

I love Pinterest

Pinterest is a great social media site to promote your business, it isn’t as frantic as other social media sites so what you share will remain searchable and visible for longer.  Pinterest is a brilliant tool for businesses that have good images of products, which can then be linked back to a site where the products can be purchased.  However, even businesses without products with pretty pictures can use it to build their brand identity and help prospective customers get a feel for the business.

For example, if you own a hotel or B and B you can create boards with pictures showing your venue, the food it serves and local attractions.

If on the other hand you are a Virtual Administrator then you have to get a bit more creative and have boards that show your personality.  You could have boards with useful blog posts, your office and how to be more organised.

Remember for Pinterest, like other social media sites, content is still king.  So if you want to be repinned you need to have fantastic pictures, which link to good content.  Some of the most repinned images are quotes and recipes.

What do you like to repin? Let me know in a comment below.

If you would like to learn more about Pinterest have a look at my Pinterest Passion Coaching package.

Pinterest Passion Coaching

In January I will be launching my Pinterest Passion Coaching Package.  During 2012 it is likely that you have either read about Pinterest or heard someone talking about Pinterest or seen a tweet about someone Pinning something to a board on Pinterest.  You might have then thought “oh no!” not another Social Media site to keep upto date.

So why should you bother with Pinterest?

  • It is all about the links back to your site so it is great for referral traffic to your site, whether you have a blog or e-commerce site.
  • There are more women than men using it 79% female to 21% male, so if your ideal client is female it is a brilliant place to be.
  • It is a brilliant tool for telling the story of you and your business.  Helping people to know, like and trust you.

So if you want to take your pinterest account from this…

Heather Bestel Pinterest Account before working with me

To this…

Heather Bestel’s Pinterest Account after working with me

The above image shows what Heather was able to do after just one hour of coaching from me and here is what she said about working with me.

“I just loved my Pinterest Passion Coaching Session with Jackie!!! I’d heard everyone talking about Pinterest for ages but just hadn’t taken the first step. I wished I’d done it sooner now. Jackie was just the person I needed. During our session, she walked me through each step of the process until I felt confident to do it by myself. She was so patient and I learnt so much in such a short space of time. Now there’s no stopping me.”

During the Pinterest Passion Coaching Session I will show you how to:

  • Navigate Pinterest
  • Create boards
  • Update your profile
  • Add pins using the Pin It button
  • Upload your own pins and link to your site
  • Add prices to pins
  • Re-arrange your boards
  • Repin other people’s pins
  • Give you ideas on what boards to create to support your business branding

After your Pinterest Passion Coaching Session with me you will be pinning with confidence.  I will also give you feedback on your boards when you have set them up.

My Pinterest Passion coaching package is no longer available, however I still work with businesses and individuals so please contact me if you would like training on how to use Pinterest or me to manage your account.

Twitter Basics Part 1 – Profile

Benefits to a complete Twitter Profile

 

Twitter is a great way to network and promote your business, however to do this efficiently and effectively you need to know certain Twitter hints and tips.  Lots of businesses start out on Twitter, some get Twitter and take to it like a duck to water.  Other businesses don’t get it and give up, because they don’t get any interaction and can’t see the point.  I want to help more businesses understand how Twitter works, so today I will explain why you need to complete your Twitter Profile.

Your Twitter Profile and your tweets are what people see and what helps them to decide whether to follow you or not.  Your profile consists of your profile picture, a header image and your bio.  If you don’t upload a profile picture, your avatar will be an egg, most people don’t follow users with an egg as their profile image.  Your profile picture should be the same across all your social media sites and should not change.  Some people use their logo and some people use a picture of themselves.  The other part to your profile is your Bio which is a maximum of 160 characters, don’t waste characters putting a website as you can add that separately.

Here is my bio from my Social Media Lincs account.

Social Media Lincs Twitter Profile

In my bio I mention what I do and how I can help you.  I use keywords that people might search for, as another reason to complete your profile is that Twitter uses the words in your bio in it’s search facility.

Here is a made up example of a bio that wouldn’t be great for helping your business to be found.

“We have been selling top quality, affordable homeware since 1990. Please follow us to find out about our new products & events.”

The above bio wouldn’t get me following you and it isn’t great for being found in search.  A better bio would include names of brands you sell or the products you sell.

In this video I show you how to edit your Twitter profile and why it is important to have a good bio on Twitter

 

If you have found this useful please share it with your friends and followers.

This post was updated on 13th May 2015.

To learn how to use Twitter to promote your business, join my 30 days to Twitter Success course.

How to Generate a QR code?

QR code to Social Media Lincs Twitter profile

This QR code takes you to Social Media Lincs Twitter profile

A QR code is a black and white square that looks similiar to a barcode that you might find on products at the supermarket.  It can be used to direct smart phone users to a particular page on a website.  You can use them on a sign in a shop window to direct people to follow you on Facebook or Twitter or on any traditional marketing material like business cards, leaflets, brochures etc.  Having them on a sign either in a shop window or near a till with a call to action, like follow us on Twitter or Facebook makes it easy for your customers to follow you, as even if they haven’t got signal there and then the QR code scanner will save the url so they can go to the site later.

The QR code above will take you to my Twitter account @SocialMediaLinc

I use a site called bitly.com to generate QR codes as well as shorten links.

Firstly decide where you want to direct people to.  In this example I will direct them to my Social Media Linc Twitter account.  Copy the address for the page.

Then go to bitly.com and create a free account if you don’t already use bitly.

Paste the link to your page in the Paste a link here box at the top right of the page.

Then go to Stats

Find the link you want to make into a QR code and click on it.

Next click the small QR icon next to the shortened bitly url. This will generate a QR code for your link.

Right click the image of the QR code that appears and click Save as, then use it where ever you want.  Before printing lots of copies of a leaflet with a QR code on always check the QR code to make sure it works and goes to the correct site.

There are other QR code generators, but as I use bitly to shorten my links it makes sense to use it to generate my QR codes too.  Do you use bitly or would you recommend another site?  Do you use QR codes? Let me know in a comment below.